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Catillate, Agelastic, and Latibulate

Inkhorn terms are bloated, fancy, show-off words formed by cramming Latin and Greek roots into English. The name references little bottles made from animal horn that 14th-century English scribes used to carry their ink. Lexicographer Henry...

Nobody Knows Why Marijuana is “Pot”

Why is marijuana called pot ? Lexicographer David Maurer, an expert on underworld slang, once posited that pot is shortened from potiguaya, a term that, it turns out, isn’t Spanish. He later surmised that pot comes from potación de guaya...

Episode 1522

Strawberry Moon

We asked for your thoughts about whether cursive writing should be taught in schools — and many of you replied with a resounding “Yes!” You said cursive helps develop fine motor skills, improves mental focus, and lets you read old...

Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...